I Rewatched Missing And Here Are The Things I Noticed This Time Around

Storm Reid in Missing
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Missing keeps you guessing from start to finish as June (Storm Reid) goes on a quest to uncover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. Twists and turns happen at every corner. This Searching sequel is just as good, if not better, than the original film, and it embraces technology in a way that makes it timely, innovative, and one of the great recent thrillers and one of the great recent mystery movies.

Searching and Missing are loosely connected, which means you can watch both or not and still have the same amount of enjoyment. However, when I watched them together, I noticed how similar the films are in storylines, themes, and messages, but in sort of an inverse way.

Their similarities aren’t the only things that I noticed when I watched Missing for a second time. You pick up a lot more clues, hints, and clever details with every rewatch, so let’s discuss some of the details I noticed when I saw it again. 

Warning: Missing spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.  

Storm Reid, Tim Griffin, and Nia Long in Missing

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

How There Are Many Clues That Point To The Kidnapper

A really observant viewer will figure out what happened to Grace (Nia Long) long before June figures it all out. The movie makes sure to put the address to James’ (Tim Griffin) isolated home in clear view within the first hour of the movie. Then this address is also shown clearly when June finds the location that Kevin (Ken Leung) has frequented the most. Not only is that a huge giveaway, but the first few minutes also give plenty of clues to the fact that James is still alive. 

In the beginning, we hear people telling Grace goodbye, and though most could be interpreted as them offering their condolences for her loss, there is one person that tells her, “One day she’ll understand.” You don’t really use that type of statement when someone has died. This seems to hint that Grace made a choice that June may only understand once she’s older. 

Then we also see hints on June’s computer, such as a tweet showing someone holding a rehab sign, which she later mimics with a welcome back from prison sign, and we see a few news story tweets about someone who was thought to be dead but then showed up, and a tweet about false identity. Also, James’ nosebleeds could represent a terminal illness or a drug addiction. From Grace’s bookmarked articles, the audience assumes it's an illness. However, we also never see any real medical documents to confirm his illness and death. 

Heather (Amy Landecker) also mentions that she just won a custody case recently. This gives a major hint into her career and the possible root of her connection to Grace. Later, we see that Kevin has been in a prison outside of San Antonio, while the beginning showed that Grace moved from San Antonio to Los Angeles. 

Missing has so many clues that point to the major twist from the beginning. However, you may not pick up on many or any of them without knowing what’s coming.  

Lauren B. Mosley in Missing

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

The Little Details To Accurately Portray Social Media 

Missing may be one of the best movies to incorporate and capture the strengths and weaknesses of social media, which plays a major role in this movie. It’s almost like an additional character. Because it does such a good job of utilizing social media to tell this story, it’s probably a film that will eventually get lots of social media buzz because of it. 

The team behind the film adds a lot of clever details that only someone who uses these platforms obsessively will notice and appreciate, and really captures the energy of all the platforms that it extensively highlights. For example, Rachel’s (Lauren B. Mosley) Instagram account looks and feels so real. We’ve seen pages like Rachel’s, ones of aspiring influencers or celebrities who want their life to come off a certain way. They want to make everything they do seem so important and grand. They have big dreams but have to fake it until they make it. The clever small touches like the random comments just saying hi and the spam comments make her page seem hilariously accurate.

Another strong aspect is how the film captures the way the public consumes true crime. The Find Grace Allen movement is the strongest example of this. The public supports her and then turn her into a villain. It includes TikTok and Reddit, and how those platforms often play a major part in the true crime world, with the consumption of it and participation in it. Social media is both praised and criticized in Missing, and both assessments are fair. 

I didn’t realize how apt the depiction of social media, especially the true crime area of it, was until rewatching the thriller

Esteban Dager and Thomas Barbusca in Missing

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Missing starts by reminding you how Searching ended. It does this through the fake true crime series, Unfiction, allowing us to see the lead of Searching, John Cho, in photographs, while Debra Messing also appears in photos. However, they are not the only actors who reappear

During the first viewing, I immediately noticed Cho and Messing, but I only noticed the other Searching cast members during the second viewing. Thomas Barbusca has a small role in Searching as someone who uses the same video broadcasting website as David’s (John Cho) daughter.

Here, he has another small role as a YouTuber who makes true crime videos. Sean O’Bryan plays a (likely problematic) radio host in both, and likely plays the same character though he has blink-and-you-might-miss-it appearances in each. Briana McLean has a bigger role in Searching, as she is one of the people that David interrogates about the disappearance of his daughter. However, she has only a quick appearance in Missing. 

According to IMDB, she’s likely playing the same character in both movies. There may be other characters and actors who appear in both, but these are just the ones that stood out to me. If there are more movies in the Searching franchise, I hope they continue to have certain actors make an appearance to link these stories. 

Nia Long in Missing

(Image credit: Song Pictures Releasing)

Why Grace Seems So Overprotective 

Initially, Grace seems like the typical overprotective mother. However, during a second viewing, you realize the depth of her stress and anxiety. You notice how much she worries about whether James could return or whether someone will find out the truth. Missing maybe one of Nia Long’s best performances because of the understated layers she gives to Grace. For example, when she talks about seeing June’s father in her, you think she’s a woman grieving the loss of her husband, but once you know the twist, you see that her ex-husband isn’t a source of mourning, but fear and trauma. 

Seeing June always makes her worry that James could track them down. 

Storm Reid in Missing

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

The Journey Of The Smartwatch 

One of Missing’s best gags is Angel’s (Michael Segovia) quest to get his smartwatch back. I didn’t really notice how key it is to the film until the second viewing. I also notice how funny it is that Angel wants it back so badly. Even in the final moments of the film, you see him still messaging June about picking it up.

This is understandable, but still funny, because of our attachment to our devices. It also plays a major role in the movie because it helps June several times during some intense moments, like allowing her to call Javier (Joaquim de Almeida) when James abducts her and Grace. The smartwatch may be one of the most important devices in the movie.

Nia Long and Storm Reid in Missing

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Other Observations  

Here are some additional, rapid-fire, observations:

  •  Unfiction may be one of the best true crime shows because it helps Veena (Megan Suri) figure out a lot. 
  • I only noticed that Yellowjacktes cast member Jasmin Savoy Brown plays the fictional version of June in Unfiction during the second viewing. 
  • June will be attending UC Davis.
  • You can see June’s money steadily decrease as she pays Javi to complete tasks. During the first watch, I thought he did most of the tasks out of kindness.
  • The Unfiction actress who plays Rosemary Vick is named Debbie Massey, a pretty clear nod to Debra Messing. 
  • You can even tell the second time that James is the Uber driver. You may also be able to recognize his voice on the phone. 

Missing is one of the best movies to watch on Netflix right now. It’s an exciting thriller that’s very entertaining and also a very captivating mystery. 

Stream Missing on Netflix.

Jerrica Tisdale
Freelance Writer

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.